Greenest Show on Earth: Democrats Tackle Politically Correct Convention

Front Page WSJ points out the challenge of hosting a 50,000 political spectacular Democratic party event that is politically correct.  Can they host a Green event and succeed without being attacked for their practices?  We will see.

The Greenest Show on Earth:
Democrats Gear Up for Denver

From Organic Fanny Packs to 'Pure' Trash,
Party Planners Face Logistical Nightmare

June 25, 2008; Page A1

DENVER -- As the Mile High City gears up to host a Democratic bash for 50,000, organizers are discovering the perils of trying to stage a political spectacle that's also politically correct.

Consider the fanny packs.

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With biodegradable balloons and organic snacks, Denver Democrats hope to stage the "greenest convention" ever. See examples.

The host committee for the Democratic National Convention wanted 15,000 fanny packs for volunteers. But they had to be made of organic cotton. By unionized labor. In the USA.

Official merchandiser Bob DeMasse scoured the country. His weary conclusion: "That just doesn't exist."

Ditto for the baseball caps. "We have a union cap or an organic cap," Mr. DeMasse says. "But we don't have a union-organic offering."

Much of the hand-wringing can be blamed on Denver's Democratic mayor, John Hickenlooper, who challenged his party and his city to "make this the greenest convention in the history of the planet."

Convention organizers hired the first-ever Director of Greening, longtime environmental activist Andrea Robinson. Her response to the mayor's challenge: "That terrifies me!"

At first I felt sorry for the environmental activist Andrea Robinson, and decided to look up her background as an activist.  I found her acting list with appearances on CSI Miami, Joey, Doc, West Wing, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, ( there are 24 entries)

Then I went to the Democratic Committee web site.

Meet the Green Team

Andrea Robinson

Andrea Robinson
Director, Sustainability & Greening

Andrea is the first person to ever hold the position of “Director of Greening” for the DNCC and began creating the sustainability plan in September 2007.  She is responsible for constructing, developing, and managing the sustainability and greening efforts for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Andrea works with all DNCC Convention venues, departments, construction and production teams to adopt and implement environmentally responsible practices in all aspects of the convention planning and restoration phases. She serves as the Co-Chair of the Denver Mayors Energy Task Force and Denver Mayors Waste Minimization Task Force and works closely with the City of Denver and DNCC venues to create a long-term legacy of sustainability in Denver before, during and after the Convention.

With more than 25 years in the environmental field, Ms. Robinson has a long history of greening large scale events, developing corporate sustainability practices, championing renewable energy, endangered species & habitat protection issues for political campaigns and creating waste diversion and reduction programs. Most recently, Robinson managed the greening of the New York, Shanghai and Johannesburg venues for Vice President Al Gore's Live Earth Concerts for the Climate Crisis, the largest musical event in world history. At Live Earth, she also single-handedly built and managed relationships with over 650 international non-profit, intergovernmental and civil society organizations focused on solving the climate crisis. She has worked extensively with a variety of environmental non-profit organizations, including the Sierra Club and Environment Colorado.  Ms. Robinson received her degree in Environmental Science from University of California at Santa Barbara with an honors thesis on Biodiversity and the United Nations Earth Summit.

I don’t see how she has 25 years of experience given she started acting in 1995 on Baywatch Nights.  But, hey this must be part of being an actress.  She started her environmental work when she was 12. She did work for Al Gore, and he did invent the Internet. :-)

She does have some learning on how long it takes for a product to biodegrade. Was she paying attention to her science courses as part of her environmental studies degree?

To test whether celebratory balloons advertised as biodegradable actually will decompose, Ms. Robinson buried samples in a steaming compost heap.

But remember those balloons? She checked the compost heap last week -- and found them still intact. She has added more liquid to try to get them to degrade.

And if they don't? "The balloons will be there," she promises.

The convention's greening gurus say they're doing the best they can with the most current information available.

Can you claim lack of information as an excuse?